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Sterling Blog: Summer fun
Summer is officially upon us, as evidenced by the fact I smell permanently of sunscreen. With the summer heat upon us, we need to make plans to have fun within the boundaries of our own ZIP code—and thankfully there is plenty to do.

First off, don’t forget to sign up for the Loudoun County Summer Reading Challenge. With school out, kids are at risk of the dreaded “summer slide.” They come back to school in the fall with a marked loss of achievement and have to play catch-up. Summer reading programs have been shown to save kids from this slide and keep their skills sharp as a tack for fall. This is especially important for kids in elementary school. It’s been shown that without reading, they can lose a whole grade level over the summer. This can become a cumulative effect as each school year they fall further behind. Just a weekly trip to the library can make sure the only slide your child is on is at Gwen Thompson Briar Patch Park.

For more information about the program, visit the wonderful Sterling Library on Enterprise Street.

If you stop by the library from 2 to 3 p.m. June 23, your kids will get a special treat and meet some of our local heroes. The Sterling Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad will be on hand to tell your kids about the amazing work they do to keep us safe. I’ve ridden along with the squad and ever since then, I sleep a little more soundly knowing they are there.

These volunteers give up hours of their time making sure we don’t give up a minute of our worrying about who will help in case of an emergency. Bring the kids to say hi and if the weather is good, they’ll even get to climb up in an ambulance.

Want to learn more about our Sterling volunteers? You can find them online at sterlingfire.org and sterlingrescue.org. While there, you can donate to the squad to help fund equipment and general support. You can also volunteer. Even if you don’t have any interest in climbing ladders, you can help them in administrative roles and lighten the load for these brave men and women. Just click on the red “Join the SVFC” to learn more. You find out more about volunteering with the rescue squad by clicking on “Join SVRS” on their site.

Mark your calendars now for the Claude Moore Park Ol’ Time Fourth of July Celebration – a great way to spend the day before heading out for some fireworks that night. Watch this space for more info.

Last, but very far from least, congratulations to all of our students who worked so hard this year. Enjoy your summer and have some fun – you earned it! (And read some books!)

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Sterling Boulevard: It takes a community
After the events in Orlando this weekend, I desperately needed news that would make me feel like the world was full of good people, that kindness exists, and that, in the words of Lin-Manual Miranda, “hope and love last longer.”

I didn’t need to look very far – because when the world is dark, I can count on Sterling to light a candle. This weekend, our Park View High School soccer team won the 4A state tournament. This would be enough news to brighten my day. If there’s anything I love, it’s a good underdog story. Winning a state tournament isn’t just hard, it’s a feat of endurance.

It’s going past the regular season and working long hours to bring it all home. Congratulations to the players, the volunteer staff, the coaches and the parents.

But that’s not the story. As nice as it is to have a team win the state, the community deserves some of the congratulations. Those students didn’t go to Lynchburg to win the whole shebang all by themselves. When the team realized they were going to the state tournament, they also had to realize that they didn’t have the money to get there – much less for any championship rings that they might earn. Imagine having the most amazing opportunity right in front of you and being worried that there was no way you could do it.

That’s where the Sterling community stepped in.

The Claude Moore Foundation provided a check to cover the cost of transportation to the tournament – with enough room in the back for the trophy if necessary. The team then reached out to their biggest fans – the residents of Sterling. They created a GoFundMe page with a goal of $2,500 to cover hotel, food and other expenses. In just five days, they raised over $3,800 with donations big and small to support these Park View Patriots.

The support didn’t end there. The community rallied to send them off in style, with even neighboring high school Potomac Falls SCA providing goodie bags for the trip.

At the final game, though, it was up to them. Just like their community came through, so did the soccer players of Park View. They won the final game 1 to 0. Even though it was miles away, the community was cheering them on. Joe’s Pizzeria – a Sterling landmark – set up an outdoor big screen television so that supporters could watch the kids live and enjoy every thrilling moment, especially the one where the kids raised the trophy.

So thank you Sterling and every member, coach and supporter of the Park View Patriots soccer team. I was wondering where I could find some light in the darkness – and I just had to look down the street.
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Sterling Blog: Kitten season
It seems there’s a season for everything. Baseball season. Certain vegetables are said to be “in season.” And wearing white after Labor Day is definitely not in season. But did you know there’s a kitten season?

Just ask any animal shelter around and they’ll tell you that early spring kicks off the official kitten season. Around early fall, the deluge of kitten ends. In the meantime, there are baskets full of kittens needing warm laps, snuggly blankets and good forever homes. If you’ve been wondering why your carpet is not covered in cat toys or how you could get more fur on to your clothes, then I have a great event for you this weekend.

On Sunday, June 12, Homeless Animals Rescue Team (HART) will be hosting an adoption fair at our local PetSmart, 46220 Potomac Run Plaza, from noon until 3 p.m. Stop by and check out this season’s bounty of furry friends – and then apply to take two home with you.

Now, you may wonder why I said “two.” Like many animal shelters in the area, HART has a kitten policy that says if you are adopting a baby kitten (under 6 months old), you also take home a playmate. This isn’t just them trying to get you to take kittens off their hands. Kittens are extremely social and active animals (not to mention adorable). Without another kitty to play with, they get more than a little lonely and that can lead to “uncute” issues with the litter box and your furniture. Not to mention, kittens are nocturnal. If you’ve never dealt with the “kitten krazies” at 2 a.m., you may not know the value of having more than one young cat in the house – but you will. Even better, two kittens romping is exponentially cuter than one.

However, you might not have space for two kittens. In fact, I may be having trouble convincing you to have space for one. Then, when you look for your new furry pal, look for a wee bit older one. They are still cute, but they have had some time. Just ask one of the HART staff to point you in the direction of a cat that wants to be the only king of your jungle.

I do hear of people that just simply aren’t cat people – or pet people for that matter. Or perhaps you have enough cats in your home. I prefer a one-to-one cat/human ratio so that I have a good defense ready for the inevitable cat uprising. My house is fully stocked with cats at the moment. But you can still help HART and other local organizations with kitten season. First off, have all your pets spayed or neutered. Fewer kittens mean fewer kittens needing homes. You can also consider fostering pets until they find a home. This helps them get socialized and you get kitten time without a commitment. You can also make donations to help defray the costs of veterinary care and food.

To learn more about the cats and kittens that will be available this Sunday, just go to the HART website at http://www.hart90.org In th.e spirit of equal time for opposing views, I should note that HART does also have dogs and puppies up for adoption – if that’s the way you roll. You can learn all about them at the website as well. And if you see me there, please take the kittens out of my arms and send me home.
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Cascades and Countryside Blog: Potowmack Elementary students compete in Iowa
Sterling Blog: Student takeover day
Cascades and Countryside Blog: American Legion observes 40th Memorial Day
Cascades and CountrySide Blog: The fastest folks in eastern Loudoun
Sterling Blog: Please and thank you
Cascades and Countryside Blog: A chorus of champions
Sterling Blog: It’s not easy being green
Cascades and Countryside Blog: Falcons Landing celebrates 20 years in Cascades
Sterling Blog: Locavore
Sterling Blog: The community is a stage
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